Top 10 Best Museums in the World 2020, Top Museums in the World
best museums in the world

Ranking the Top 10 Best Museums in the World 2020

Ranking the top 10 best museums in the world is a hard list to make, due to various factors all with their own arbitrary or subjective weights that could be used to make the list of best of museums. These are the top museums in the world ranked by BizVibe according to popularity, annual visitors, prestige, and significance

1.    Smithsonian Institution

 

Ranking number one on this list of the top 10 museums in the world in 2020 is the ever-popular and notable Smithsonian Institution — commonly referred to as The Smithsonian. This museum is operated by the US government and is a group of both museums and research centers. Founded in 1846, the museum was coined as the “nation’s attic”, because it held over 154 million items. The Smithsonian Institution operates 19 museums, 21 libraries, 9 research centers, and even a zoo. The Smithsonian has an annual budget of USD 1.2 billion and gets over 30 million visitors per year across all locations — making it one of the top 10 famous museums in the world as well.

The Smithsonian includes important research centers such as the Archives of American Art, Museum Conservation Institute, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, Smithsonian Libraries, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (National Zoo), and more.

 

  • Founded: 1846
  • Smithsonian Location: Washington, D.C.; Chantilly, Virginia; New York City
  • Smithsonian Annual Budget: USD 1.2 billion
  • Smithsonian Annual Visitors: 30 million

 

Popular Attractions at The Smithsonian

 

  • Dorothy’s red slippers
  • Original Star-Spangled Banner
  • Apollo 11 command module
  • The Gem Hall (including the Hope Diamond)
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • Space race Gallery

 

2.    Louvre

 

Based in Paris, France, The Louvre is the largest museum in the world as of 2020 with 782,910 square feet of museum space. As the world’s largest museum, it is a city landmark for Paris at this point and includes over 38,000 objects from history to the 21st century. In addition to being the largest museum in the world, Louvre is also the most visited single museum in the world with

9.6 million visitors in 2019.  This museum was originally built as a castle but eventually went through many changes to become the famous museum known in the world today.

 

  • Founded: 1793
  • Louvre Location: Paris, France
  • Louvre Annual Budget: USD 350 million
  • Louvre Annual Visitors: 9.6 million

 

Popular Attractions at The Louvre

 

  • Venus de Milo
  • Winged Victory of Samothrace
  • Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.”
  • Egyptian antiquities
  • Near Eastern antiquities
  • Islamic art

 

3.    Acropolis Museum

 

Ranking 3rd on this list of the 10 best museums in the world is The Acropolis Museum, an archaeological museum focused on the findings of the archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens. Established in 2009, this museum contains a collection size of 4,250+ objects and generates 1,666,286 visitors per year. This museum is to house the archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens and all of its artifacts. The main attraction at The Acropolis Museum is The Frieze of the Parthenon.

 

  • Founded: 2009
  • Acropolis Museum Location: Athens, Greece
  • Acropolis Museum Annual Budget: USD 175 million
  • Acropolis Museum Annual Visitors: 1,666,286 million

 

Popular Attractions at The Acropolis Museum

 

  • Gallery of the Slopes
  • Archaic Gallery
  • Caryatid Ladies
  • Parthenon Procession
  • Parthenon Procession

 

4.    The State Hermitage Museum

 

The State Hermitage Museum ranks 4th on our list of the top 10 museums in the world. Hermitage Museum is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and the 2nd largest museum in the world behind the Louvre in Paris, France. State Hermitage Museum gets 4,294,000 annual visitors — making it also one of the top museums in the world by visitors. This museum was established ion 1764 and has been open to the public since 1852. The museum consists of six buildings with five open to the public: the Winter Palace, Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage, New Hermitage, and Hermitage Theatre.

 

  • Founded: 1764
  • State Hermitage Location: Saint Petersburg, Russia
  • State Hermitage Annual Visitors: 4,294,000 million

 

Popular Attractions at The State Hermitage Museum

 

  • Egyptian antiquities
  • Classical antiquities
  • Knights’ Hall
  • Jewelry and decorative art
  • Prehistoric art
  • Russian art

 

5.    The Prado (Museo del Prado)

 

Coming in 5th on this ranking of 10 best museums in the world is The Prado Museum, also officially known as Museo Nacional del Prado. The Prado is the main Spanish national art museum, located in central Madrid and gets about 2,893,000 annual visitors, making it one of the top museums in the world in terms of visitors. The museum is widely considered to have one of the best collections of fine European art. Initially founded in 1819 as a museum of paintings and sculptures it also includes famous works from  Francisco Goya, Hieronymus Bosch, El Greco, Peter Paul Rubens, Titian, and Diego Velázquez.

 

  • Founded: 1819
  • The Prado Location: Madrid, Spain
  • The Prado Annual Budget: USD 45.76 million
  • The Prado Museum Annual Visitors: 2.89 million

 

Popular Attractions at The Prado Museum

 

  • Rogier van der Weyden
  • Andrea Mantegna
  • Titian, The Fall of Man, c. 1570
  • Raphael, Portrait of a Cardinal, c. 1510–11
  • Francisco Goya, The Third of May 1808, 1814

 

6.    The British Museum

 

At over 807,000 square feet and consisting of over 94 galleries The British Museum is one of the biggest museums in the world by most measures. The British Museum is located in the Bloomsbury area of London, United Kingdom, and was established 267 years ago in 1753. The museum has an extensive list of over 8 million works and is a public institution estimated to art and history.

 

  • Founded: 1819
  • The British Museum: London, UK
  • The British Museum Annual Visitors: 5.82 million

 

Popular Attractions at The British Museum

 

  • Egyptian gallery
  • Rosetta Stone

 

7.    Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)

 

Ranking 7th on this list of the top 10 best museums in the world is The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, also known as “the Met”. The Met is the largest single museum in the United States, generating about 6,953,927 last year across its 3 locations. The museum is known for its vast collection includes classical antiquity and ancient Egypt, paintings, and sculptures from nearly all the European masters, and an extensive collection of American and modern art. The Met is not only one of the most famous museums in the world, but due to its notoriety, it is also one of the top 10 museums in the world in 2020.

 

  • Founded: 1870
  • The Met Location: New York City, USA
  • The Met Annual Budget: USD 320 million
  • The Met Museum Annual Visitors: 6.95 million

 

Popular Attractions at The Met

 

  • Ancient Near Eastern art
  • Arms and Armor
  • Medieval art and the Cloisters
  • Asian art
  • Egyptian art
  • Islamic art
  • Greek and Roman art

 

8.    Vatican Museums

 

The Vatican Museums are the 4th most visited museum in the world and ranks 8th on our list of the top 10 museums in the world as of 2020. This museum is the public art and sculpture museum in Vatican City and currently employs 640 people in 40 different departments. Founded in 1506, The Vatican Museums are some of the oldest museums in the world and includes renowned display works from the immense collection amassed by the Roman Catholic Church and the Papacy.

 

  • Founded: 1506
  • Vatican Museums: Vatican City
  • Vatican Museums Annual Visitors: 6.88 million

 

Popular Attractions at The Vatican Museums

 

  • The Collection of Modern Religious Art
  • Greek Cross Gallery
  • Sala Rotonda
  • Sala Delle Muse

 

9.    National Museum of Korea

 

Ranking 9th on this list of the top 10 best museums in the world is The National Museum of Korea — the main museum of Korean history and art in South Korea. This museum was e4stablsihed ion 1945 and attracts over 3.3 million visitors annually. Its main collection are from Korea’s past including the Gold Crown, National Treasure of Korea, Pensive Bodhisattva, and The Oegyujanggak Uigwe. The National Museum of Korea is one of the most famous museums in the world and represents the 9th ranking on our list of the top museums in the world.

 

  • Founded: 1909
  • National Museum of Korea Location: Seoul, South Korea
  • National Museum of Korea Museum Annual Visitors: 3.3 million

 

Popular Attractions at The National Museum of Korea

 

  • Prehistory and Ancient History Gallery
  • Medieval and Early Modern History Gallery
  • Calligraphy and Painting Gallery
  • Asian Art Gallery
  • Sculpture and Crafts Gallery

 

10.  Tokyo National Museum

 

Rounding out BizVibe’s list of the top 10 best museums in the world in 2020 is The Tokyo National Museum, the first museum located in Japan on this list.  The Tokyo National Museum is an art museum in Ueno Park in the Taitō ward of Tokyo, Japan, and known for one of the largest art museums in the world. This museum attracts 2,431,073 million visitors  — making it one of the top museums in the world by annual visitors.

 

  • Founded: 1872
  • Tokyo National Museum Location: Tokyo, Japan
  • Tokyo National Museum Annual Visitors: 2.43 million

 

Popular Attractions at The Tokyo National Museum

 

  • Honkan (Japanese Gallery)
  • Toyokan (Asian Gallery)
  • Horyuji Homotsukan (Gallery of Horyoji Treasures)
  • Kuroda Kinenkan (Kuroda Memorial Hall)

 

This is BizVibe’s list of the top 10 best museums in the world in 2020 ranked by their popularity, annual visitors, and prestige. The top museums in the world are visited by millions annually and continue to hold important art from our past and even modern times.

Top Museums in the World by Annual Visitors 2020

For context-purposes; here is a ranking of the most visited museums in the world as of 2020. Louvre, The National Museum of China, The Met, Vatican Museums, and the National Air and Space Museum lead the top 5 of the most visited museums in the world.

top 10 museums in the world

Here is the full list of most visited museums in the world in 2020

 

Rank

Museum

Annual Visitors

Country

1Louvre10,200,000France
2National Museum of China8,610,092China
3Metropolitan Museum of Art6,953,927USA
4Vatican Museums6,756,186Vatican City
5National Air and Space Museum6,200,000USA
6Tate Modern5,868,562UK
7British Museum5,829,000UK
8National Gallery5,735,831UK
9Natural History Museum5,226,000UK
10American Museum of Natural History5,000,000USA
11National Museum of Natural History4,800,000USA
12National Gallery of Art4,404,212USA
13China Science and Technology Museum4,400,000China
14State Hermitage Museum4,294,000Russia
15Zhejiang Museum4,200,000China
16Victoria and Albert Museum3,967,566UK
17Museo Reina Sofía3,898,309Spain
18National Palace Museum3,860,644Taiwan
19National Museum of American History3,800,000USA
20Nanjing Museum3,670,000China
21Hunan Museum3,600,000China
22Centre Pompidou3,551,544France Paris
23Shanghai Science and Technology Museum3,540,000China
24Gansu Provincial Museum3,500,000China
25National Museum of Korea3,300,000South Korea
26London Science Museum3,286,000UK
27Musée d’Orsay3,175,000France
28Somerset House3,143,626UK
29National Museum of Natural Science2,963,857Taiwan
30Museo del Prado2,893,000Spain
31Moscow Kremlin Museums2,867,295Russia
32Chongqing Museum of Natural History2,830,000China
33Mevlana Museum2,817,386Turkey
34Shaanxi History Museum2,800,000China
35Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum2,787,770Japan
36Chengdu Museum [zh]2,780,000China
37Museum of Modern Art2,774,103USA
38National Art Center2,717,565Japan
39National Museum of History2,661,615Mexico
40Royal Museums Greenwich2,549,833UK
41National Museum of Nature and Science2,460,000Japan
42National Museum of Anthropology2,596,725Mexico
43NGV International2,565,474Australia
44China Art Museum2,550,000China
45California Science Center2,520,000USA
46Tokyo National Museum2,431,073Japan
47National Museum of African American History and Culture2,400,000USA
48Suzhou Museum2,340,000China
49Houston Museum of Natural Science2,313,000USA
50Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture2,304,404USA
51China Art Museum2,300,000China
52Rijksmuseum2,300,000Netherlands
53Three Gorges Museum2,240,000China
54Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie2,231,000France
55Galleria degli Uffizi2,230,914Italy
56National Museum of Scotland2,227,773United
57Russian Museum2,192,200Russia
58Van Gogh Museum2,161,160Netherlands
59Tretyakov Gallery2,148,538Russia
60Shanghai Museum2,111,730China
61Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum2,100,000Poland
62National Folk Museum of Korea2,054,719South Korea
  • Louvre in Paris, France is the most visited museum in the world — attracting over 10,200,000 per year.
  • The National Museum of China attracts 8,610,092 a year — the 2nd most visited museum in the world.

Museum Stats and Facts

  • Over 14 million American households visit art museums every year.
  • In the USA, museums and historical sites generate more than 13 billion U.S. dollars in revenue annually and this number is expected to edge closer to 15 billion by 2020.
  • The economy loves museums. There are around 2000 museums in England, employing over 27,600 people, with over 4300 employed in local authority museums.
  • On average, national museums generate almost half of their own income (45.6%).

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